Analogy for Affinity Diagramming

Yesterday while at work I was copying insights from interviews onto Post-its for an affinity diagram. The undergrad intern working with us walked past, asking what I was doing.

“Prepping for an affinity diagram,” I said with great aplomb.

Of course, she had no idea what I was talking about. I explained that an affinity diagram is where you write user-generated comments, thoughts, and opinions onto Post-its. Then you take your pile of Post-its and group them based on topics. Topics with the most Post-its are high-interest, etc. This helps you determine what the person who your design is meant for finds most interesting, versus what you the designer might find most interesting.

The reason I’m talking about this is the analogy the undergrad intern used to understand the concept.

“So it’s like one of those things where the words are bigger to show more people have commented?”

Yes. That’s exactly what an affinity diagram is. An analog tag cloud. I love it.

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